The three big giants Amazon, Microsoft, and Google dominates the cloud industry. They assure that our personal data is secure. But, ‘Edge Computing’ is likely to threaten Amazon’s Cloud business. Like “IoT” or “Cloud”, Edge Computing has become a buzzword in recent times. ‘Edge’ means everything or nothing. This blog post will inform you how Edge Computing can hamper the cloud business of Amazon. Also, some basics about this trending technology.

What is Edge Computing – An Overview

After listening and reading many industry experts, I can conclude an appropriate definition of Edge computing. The word ‘Edge’ in Edge computing means the geographic distribution of computing services over the world. Basically, to access the cloud services faster, Edge servers are used. Edge servers have edge locations which are a setup to provide low latency by caching static content.

Edge Location in Edge Computing
Edge Location in Edge Computing

These servers exist near to the users, thus the computing is done at or near the source of the data, instead of the servers of cloud situated far across the globe. This boosts the speed and reduces the latency in the network. So, this technology increases the performance of the cloud. But, this does not mean that the cloud has nothing to do with edge computing. By using edge servers, we actually bring the cloud servers to us.

What Edge Computing Practically Mean?

Now, let us see what people mean practically when they use edge computing servers. We have been here from an era where large computers existed. As the technology evolved, we started owning personal computers. However, many of us use personal computers to access centralized services. What does this mean?

Also, Read | What is Virtualization and Virtual Machine?

Using centralized services means using Gmail, Slack, i-cloud, Dropbox, Google cloud, etc. Moreover, devices like Chromecast, Amazon’s Echo, Apple TV use cloud services to serve our needs. All new opportunities lie at the ‘Edge’ for the cloud.

Let us understand this in other word. You must realize that almost everything that can be centralized has been centralized. Therefore, not much is left for cloud companies to develop in the cloud space. So, most of the new opportunities in the cloud industry actually lie at the ‘Edge Computing’.

Most of the people, companies or business truly rely on the infrastructure, hosting, and compute power that Amazon, Microsoft, Google or IBM provides. Amazon, in particular, uses edge servers or say edge locations to reduce latency in the network. This way, they are able to provide a better user experience.

To emphasize more on it, Amazon Web Services is the largest among public cloud providers and own a market share of about 57 percent as per the 2017 report.

How Edge Computing is threatening Amazon Cloud Business?

Amazon Inc., Microsoft Corp., and Alphabet Inc. use more than 100 data centers across the world for providing cloud services. This way, they generate billions of dollars. For Amazon, the cloud business has become one of the main sources of earning in recent years. They dominate the cloud market and has a monopoly altogether.

But, now there seems a threat at the edge of the network for Amazon cloud. As we saw that using edge computing, we can bring compute power near to us, this is the major concern for Amazon. Today, we have billions of mobile devices and sensors connected to the internet. Thus more and more people need computing power with minimum delay in the network. So, to achieve this goal, remote data centers are just too far away for people to experience smooth and quick computing.

This will provide the wireless carriers a huge opportunity, who are building 5G networks to handle the task. Due to this, they impose a threat for the dominant cloud service providers, according to telecom analyst Chetan Sharma.

Report for edge computing
Report for edge computing expected to shake up the tech economy

From a long time now, Cloud is primarily used for storage and running longer computational models, while most of the processing of data and AI inference will take place at the edge,” said Sharma,

So, What is the Solution for Cloud Market?

According to his report, ‘Edge Computing’ is expected to have a market share of more than $4 trillion by 2030. This will directly benefit the wireless carriers who have a big advantage in the edge-computing race. This is because they control and have the necessary infrastructure. They own high-speed telecommunications networks, have valuable real estate, for instance, cell sites all over the globe.

However, it will not be the end of Cloud computing by any means. Just, it will increase the pressure on the industry like Amazon or Microsoft to partner with wireless carriers to ensure that they are not left out of the burgeoning ‘Edge’ market.

Collaborations of Cloud Leader To manage the Edge Computing Market

All the big players of cloud realize this so we already see some collaborations. For, instance, AT&T Inc, the second-largest U.S. wireless carrier has joined hands with Microsoft, and IBM. Sam George, a cloud executive at Microsoft believes that this collaboration will bring success to them in the near future.

However, Amazon and Google are not interested in future prospect and do not reveal their plans.

Another comment came from Mo Katibeh who is the chief marketing officer of At&T. He said, AT&T has hundreds of workers focused on edge computing, which is a core part of their 5G technology. Meanwhile, IBM is also working with Vodafone Group in Europe to save its cloud services. According to Steve Canepa who is the IBM’s global managing director for the telecom industry said,

“The networks are essentially themselves becoming a cloud. The telcos today have a point of presence at the edge, and that becomes a great place to have an extension of the platform.”

The Take-Away

All the countries are working for the future. Cloud providers in China such as Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd invested in carrier China Unicom two years ago. Moreover, Intel also believes a rapid convergence between cloud and connectivity providers. Other telecom companies are looking to team up with both carriers and cloud providers.

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